The Tracker Marine plant, which shut down in 2009, has reopened and is building 20 boats a day, according to Ky3.com. White River Marine Group, parent of Tracker Marine, said that the facility would support its Sun Tracker pontoon line. The company has expanded its distribution network after acquiring Cabela’s last year.
Production manager Stephen Skopec told the paper that he started working in 1989 on the assembly line. "I worked my way up through different parts of the manufacturing to lead person and supervisor, eventually got into the engineering department," he said.
When the facility shut down in nine years ago, Skopec began to commute to the Tracker facility in Lebanon, Mo. "When the opportunity for this plant came again, I was pretty excited, not only for myself, but for everyone that used to work here," Skopec added.
Skopec said that the 130-strong workforce is mostly composed of new workers. "It's been challenging,” he said. “We started from scratch. We started at three boats a day at the beginning of April. We would do that for a week, and the next week, we did six boats a day," Skopec said. Now they're building 20 boats a day with the full staff.
"This is exactly the kind of job growth, good wages, that we need in Bolivar, we need all over our state," said Josh Hawley, the state’s attorney general, who recently toured the facility. "This is a sign of our economy beginning to get back on its feet."
White River Marine Group also has other facilities in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma.